Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Fanastic Fantome: Schooner Days MCCLXIXa (1269a)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 19 May 1956
Full Text
Fanastic Fantome
Schooner Days MCCLXIXa (1269a)

by C. H. J. Snider


FROM ADMIRAL ROAD appropriately comes this hail, for which we cheerfully interrupt The Nancy's story to acknowledge -

"On page 27 (second front) of today's "Telegram" there is an article regarding "Fantome" with an accompanying picture. She is described as a four-masted, 1,200-ton schooner and the accompanying picture shows a four-masted vessel, She is said to have been built in Italy in 1927 for the Duke of Westminster and later purchased by Mr. Guinness. In "The Annals of the RCYC" you will recall the description of Fantome II who visited the club in 1937. She was a 600-ton three-masted barque built in 1896 as the French nitrate carrier "Bellem," converted for the Duke of Westminster, and later sold to Mr. Guinness. This latter ship, "Fantome II," is pictured in both volumes of the Beken book "The Beauty of Sail." In the 1952 edition the commentary points out that she was sold in 1951 to Italy to become the training ship "Giorgio Cini."

Comparing these photographs with that in tonight's "Telegram" they appear to be completely different ships. The sheer-line, the fo'c's'le head, the "gun ports," and the funnels are all different. Considering all this, the situation is somewhat confusing. It would seem probable that the ship pictured in tonight's "Telegram" is actually, shall we say, "Fantome III," possibly owned by a different member of the Guinness family and, quite probably never owned by the Duke of Westminster, as it would seem unlikely that he should sell two large yachts to the Guinnesses. This point, you will appreciate, is not of vital importance, but in view of the comparatively few large sailing vessels in the world today it interesting to keep track of them. Accordingly, I am writing to ask you if you can clarify this situation."

Heaven. save Schooner Days from responsibility for what the "CP-BUP" do when they go to sea.

Mr. David F. Barr, who so justly asks for clarification, will have noted that these two news agencies were credited, with the Sorel dispatch he mentions. They were going according to their lights, which may have needed trimming.

What appears in the Annals of the RCYC about Fantome II is correct. In spite of the difference in number of masts, number of painted gunports and general appearance, Schooner Days believes that the Fantomes depicted in The Telegram in 1956 and in 1937 (when Fantome II was at the RCYC moorings as mentioned in the Annals) may be one and the same vessel. Or, if not the same, and they certainly are not, still one vessel.

Fantomie II was as said, rigged as a barque with square sails on two masts and fore and aft sails on the mizzen. She had auxiliary engines, whose exhaust was carried up the hollow iron mizzen mast head. It would appear that she has been re-rigged in Sorel or elsewhere as a four-masted fore-and-aft schooner and that her deck structures and poop and forecastle have been united by a fore-and-aft bridge or "sun deck."

The 36 black squares in the white band which runs from one end to the other of her may frame as many circular glazed ports or deadlights, or the gentleman who bought her may be fond of playing checkers overside. When she was here, she had about a dozen painted ports, as recollected, and they were decorative, after an old and vanished fashion. Always glad to get your hail, Mr. Barr.


Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
19 May 1956
Language of Item
Richard Palmer
Creative Commons licence
by [more details]
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Fanastic Fantome: Schooner Days MCCLXIXa (1269a)